The winter in Chile is almost coming to an end. But before it happens, we went tasting the great snow powder during the ultimate ski adventures in southern Chile. During 7 days, we immersed in the beauty of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
Last week, we traveled and enjoyed the winter sports with a very special delegation. Our friendly team, led by Cristián, Guido and Bernardo, received our international friends at Temuco Airport for a fantastic voyage. Outdoor adventures with spectacular landscapes, traditional and vanguardist cuisine, ancestral Mapuche culture and great 4-star hotels were the main ingredients.
In this post, you will discover the best of 4 circuits of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route during winter.
In the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route, the Araucania Andina is the northernmost of the 6 circuits constituting this part of southern Chile. Thanks to the presence of the Lonquimay, Llaima volcanoes and all the other active volcanoes around, we can observe how the volcanic activity has been shaping the landscape for ages.
At the same time, the circuit not only stands out for the geothermical activity of the area. Indeed, the Araucania Andina is also home to vast forests of the ancient araucaria tree (also monkey-puzzle). In fact, they are one of the oldest forests on Earth as its origin goes back to 180 millions years ago. On the other hand, the landscape also features imponent mountains of the Andes range, pristine lakes and whitewaters.
Ski Adventures at the Corralco Ski Resort
The Corralco Mountain Resort is located in the south slopes of Lonquimay volcano. This excellent ski resort is known for its excellent snow conditions. Proof of that, both the French and the USA ski racing teams have been training in Corralco since 2015, including Olympic gold medal Ted Ligety.
Likewise, Corralco offers uncrowded ski runs for all levels of ski and snowboard lovers. The view from above is stunning, overlooking fantastic peaks of the Andean Araucanía, such as Sierra Nevada (2.554m) and Llaima volcano, as well as more distant landmarks like Lanín volcano (3.780m) to the south. Not to mention the vast 2,470 acres (1.000 hectares) ski domain to go off-piste through valleys and gullies.
With the favorable weather conditions, our guide Guillo led our adventurers to ascend the Lonquimay volcano. From the new top t-bar lift, this activity consists in a 2-hour hike until reaching the massive crater of the Lonquimay volcano. Upon arrival at the top awarded by striking views, we then began skiing off-piste to the bottom of the slopes.
Snowshoeing El Coloradito trail
For non-skiers, we had another amazing adventure. In effect, we lived a fantastic journey through the most representative natural scenarios of the Araucaria Andina circuit. Ancient forests of Coigues and Araucarias, high steppes, mountain edges, views of volcanoes and remarkable geosites.
This hiking trail is fascinating, as it offers the possibility to discover and understand why the Malalcahuello National Reserve is, at the same time, part of both the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve and the Global Geoparks Network by UNESCO.
After exploring the Lonquimay volcano in the Araucania Andina circuit, our adventure followed with the visit of the Sietelagos circuit. Encompassing 7 different lakes, this circuit possesses special characteristics such as the lush Valdivian forest and the Mocho-Choshuenco stratovolcano.
Highligh of the circuit, the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is a 100.000 hectares privately protected area in the Patagonian Andes. There, we stayed in the luxury Nothofagus Hotel and SPA, immersed in the middle of the temperate rainforest.
Foye Mapu Cultural Center
First thing first, we started our day in the Sietelagos circuit with a cultural encounter. As the Mapuche communities are the first inhabitants in the southern parts of Chile, visiting this Mapuche center is a must-do in order to connect with the Human identity of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
Located at Panguipulli village, the Foye Mapu is a Mapuche cultural center run by Isabel Naguil and her family. As they belong to the Mapuche community, they shared with us their ancestral traditions, lifestyle and gastronomy.
Pirihueico Lake and natural hot springs
We ended our first in the Sietelagos circuit with a boat trip on the Pirihueico lake of glacial origin. During 30 minutes, and with the Mocho-Choshuenco at sight, we navigated the virgin shores of the lake alongside the native forest.
Upon arrival, we enjoyed the hot springs made of wooden jars made with old trunks in the middle of the forest. Finally, we headed to the Nothofagus Hotel and SPA for a well-deserved rest before another day full of outdoor adventures.
During this day, we experienced the fantastic adventure of climbing 2 volcanoes in one day. After an early morning breakfast, we went through the native forest until reaching the snow. There, a cat ski was waiting to take us for an hour-long ride to a plateau, at the skirts of Mocho volcano.
As there aren’t any ski lifts, skinning and hiking are the only ways to reach the top of Mocho (2.422 meters / 7.946 feet) volcano. The views are absolutely amazing, overlooking the Lanín and Villarrica volcanoes. Afterwards, we went up skinning and climbing the Choshuenco volcano (2.415 meters / 7.923 feet) with breathtaking views over the Lanín and Villarrica volcanoes.
On the other hand, for the non-skiers of the group, we experienced a magic randonnée walk crossing one of the slopes of the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano. There we could also admire a stunning view over the active volcanoes around.
The Norpatagonia circuit is the shortest of the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route. It comprises a territory formed by two large hydrographic basins: the Puyehue lake in the north, and the Rupanco lake in the south. Additionally, this beautiful Andean landscape highlights the silhouette of the Puyehue and the Puntiagudo volcanoes, not without mentioning the presence of Valdivian Temperate Rainforest.
As the weather conditions were not favorable for the ascent of the Casablanca volcano, we went for a snowshoe walk in the Puyehue National Park, before leaving towards the final circuit of this trip through the Lake and Volcano Scenic Route.
For this last stage of this travel adventure, we stayed in the fantastic AWA Hotel & SPA. Located at the shores of the Llanquihue lake 20 minutes away from Puerto Varas, this hotel offers excellent accommodation with great SPA services.
After a cosy resting night, our travel adventure followed. So, as a grande finale, we went to explore the unmissable natural attractions of the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. Todos Los Santos lake, Petrohue falls with the Osorno volcano in the background were the elements composing the landscape of the park.
Chile’s Lake and Volcano District is full of surprises! Discover this ancestral territory either by bike, by foot or by summer skiing the eternal snow-covered peaks of southern Chile.